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Film4 11.05pm - 1.30am ★★★★

his­tor­i­cal ⊲ A deadly game of cat and mouse is played out in this plush ac­count of the first dozen years of El­iz­a­beth I’s reign, as court in­trigue de­cides whether she’ll re­main queen. The film takes its strength from Cate Blanchett’s awe­somely steely monarch, Joseph Fi­ennes as her lover, the Earl of Dud­ley, and Ge­of­frey Rush’s sin­is­ter Wals­ing­ham, the spy­mas­ter who ul­ti­mately proves her truest ally. Blanchett re­turned for the se­quel El­iz­a­beth: The Golden Age in 2007. Dir: Shekhar Ka­pur 1998, 15, 145min

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